About Us


Colorado Photonics Industry Association

About Photonics and the Colorado Photonics Industry Association

Photonics (fo-ton-iks): The technology of generating and harnessing light and its energy for high-tech solutions.


Formed in 1997, CPIA is a not-for-profit association of industrial, educational, and governmental entities involved in research, development, and/or the sale of products or services that involve photonics technologies.


Colorado Photonics Industry Association

CPIA Unites the Industry in Colorado:

  • To promote the strength and contribution that photonics technologies make
  • To publicizes this strength in industry trade shows and international business forums
  • To assure a trained workforce is available to allow the industry to grow.
  • To promotes the needs and wants of the photonics industry to the local and federal governments.
  • To provides a forum for industry, academia, and government laboratories to collaborate on R&D projects.
  • To pursue research funding or investment capital.

Think you know all the applications of photonics? Check out A Day In Life with Photonics (from Harnessing Light, National Academy Press, 1998).


Mission and Values

CPIA Values

  • CPIA is an inclusive organization
  • CPIA promotes the Colorado photonics industry for the benefit of its members
  • CPIA helps form and grow the businesses
  • CPIA is a grass-roots organization and will continue to listen to members and the industry and will continue to depend on its active and involved volunteers to help provide programs and initiatives
  • CPIA promotes collaboration among its members

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Our Mission

The Colorado Photonics Industry Association (CPIA) is an association of Industrial, University, and Government entities involved in research, development, and/or the sale of products or services that involve photonics technologies.

  • CPIA provides both a united front to promote the Colorado photonics industry throughout the World as well as a forum for collaboration and education of its members.
  • CPIA promotes photonics technologies development in Colorado and enhances the profitability of its members.
  • CPIA unites the industry to promote the strength and contribution photonics technologies make in Colorado.
  • It publicizes this strength of Colorado in industry trade shows and international business forums, maintains a central database of company, University, and National Laboratory capabilities, and promotes the needs and wants of the Colorado Photonics Industry in government.
  • It provides an organization to impress upon the State legislature the need for funding improved education of Optics Technicians and forsupport of the photonics education at the High School and University levels to meet future industry staffing needs.
  • It provides a forum for industry, academia, and Government Laboratories to collaborate on research and development projects and to partner to pursue research funding or investment capital.
  • CPIA promotes the Photonics Industry both within and outside Colorado for the enhancement of its members.

Our History

The Colorado photonics cluster has been steadily growing for several decades. Companies with reliance upon optics and photonics technology have been thriving in Colorado for almost fifty years. Of note are:

  • Ball Aerospace began in the late 1950s, focusing on government customers producing space imaging satellites
  • IBM Corporation arrived in the early 1960s, focusing on commercial applications such as Lexmark laser printers

November 3, 1997: The Colorado Photonics Industry Association (CPIA) was formed as a Colorado nonprofit corporation. FOUNDING MEMBERS


Early Accomplishments

  • The formation of the Colorado Advanced Photonics Technology Center
  • The formation of a photonics technician training program
  • Supporting the many research grants brought to the state

Ongoing accomplishments

  • CPIA quarterly meetings, featuring speakers on timely topics.
  • Colorado Corral at SPIE’s Photonics West exhibition each year, where a section of the main floor is reserved for Colorado photonics companies.
  • Industry analysis and directory, updated every 2 years.
  • Annual awards for outstanding businesses CHECK OUT THE WINNERS

In the past ten years that CPIA has been active

  • Over one hundred new photonics-based companies have formed in the state.
  • Photonics employment levels continue to grow.
  • 3 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to Coloradoans, all for photonics-related research.
  • The National Science Foundation has funded the Engineering Research Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology.

Our Board of Directors

Damon Lenski General Manager Avantes

Board President

Damon Lenski

General Manager
Avantes, USA

Rex Craig Principal Optical Engineer Ball Aerospace

Board Vice President

Rex Craig

Principal Optical Engineer
Ball Aerospace

Amanda Meier Director Frcc Optics Technician Program

Board Secretary

Amanda Meier

FRCC Optics Tech Program

Gary Horvath

Board Treasurer

Gary Horvath